A Japanese Zero and a Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” torpedo also buzzed the airfield during the Homecoming. But these Japanese war birds weren’t the real things. The terms of the August 1945 surrender agreement between the U.S. and Japan called for the destruction of all offensive Japanese weapons. Only three authentic Zeros exist, recovered and restored wrecks from crashes in the Pacific.
These versions were actually American planes — a North American SNJ T-6 Texan trainer as the Zero and a BT-13 Valiant trainer as the Kate torpedo bomber. These examples were among several modified by 20th Century Fox (at $20,000 a copy) to mimic the Japanese combat aircraft in the 1970 Pearl Harbor attack film Tora! Tora! Tora! Fox’s $25 million production budget actually surpassed the cost (to Japanese) of Pearl Harbor attack itself.
But perhaps the best show depiction of distinctively American brazenness is Les Shockley’s Super Shockwave. The Super Shockwave is a 1957 Chevy truck with two J-34 jet engines strapped to its rear. The fire-spitting, smoke-puffing Super Shockwave generates 10,000 pounds of thrust and can hit speeds of 336 miles per hour. Before he hit the runway for his Saturday performance, a fire-suited Shockley sat in the truck cab bemoaning the economic wreckage wrought by Pelosi-Obama. The side of his jet truck reads “Sponsor Wanted.”
So get yourself to a Blue Angels Airshow in 2012. In this era of military budget cuts, it won’t be long before the Blue Angels are nothing but a squad of drones flown by pilots in double-wides in Vegas.